Express & Star comment: Anti-vax conspiracy theories potentially dangerous for us all

Hope, and confusion.

A vaccine.
A vaccine.

Another vaccine, this one from the Oxford Vaccine Group, is showing very promising signs of effectiveness, increasing the hope that we could be seeing a pathway which will lead us to a future free of coronavirus.

And confusion – disseminated by keyboard warriors on social media and other outlets spreading misinformation, concern and fear about what might really be going on.

One of the most shared claims has been that it's all a cover to plant trackable microchips in people. Another doing the rounds is that the vaccine tampers with your DNA.

Through the power of the internet this is the world we now live in, where the line between truth and lies, news and fake news, facts and hoaxes, is blurred. Who can you believe? Who can you have confidence in? How can we have faith that the vaccine, when it comes, will not have harmful side effects, as some of those online are suggesting?

With the need for an effective vaccine being urgent, the input of the conspiracy theorists in muddying the waters is potentially dangerous.

Being guided by the science is a cliche for our times, but we do need to be guided by, and put our trust in, the processes which have delivered us vaccines and remedies which have spared untold millions of people from the sufferings endured by past generations, through things like polio, smallpox, and TB.

There is a system, it works, and it works safely, and it is lessons from past failures like the thalidomide scandal which have ensured that that is so.

The vaccine, or vaccines as there are so many currently being developed, will only be passed for use after rigorous testing. It's one of the reasons it takes so long.

Asking pertinent questions is right and responsible, as unquestioning trust brings with it the potential for a perilous lack of proper scrutiny.

Monitor, scrutinise, test, check, double check, look at the evidence, look at the proof. Make sure the scientists are doing their stuff, with no cut corners, so that no person of reasonable outlook could seriously have any doubts.

That's the way it's done, and it sets such a high bar to give us the confidence that the conspiracy theorists seek to undermine.

They will disbelieve. But then they always do.

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